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Federal Taxation
3/1/2010 9:44:34 AM
New Tax Court Rules and Practices
Posted by - Ann Murphy - Associate Professor, Gonzaga University School of Law

There are a number of new Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure that took effect on January 1, 2010. It is quite important that practitioners be aware of these new rules. The impetus for the new rules was the Amendments made to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, that took effect on December 1, 2006. Those amendments incorporated changes for Electronically Stored Information (ESI).

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For a list of these new rules (as well as the explanations for the new rules), see http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/press/091809.pdf. For a full list of the Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure (Rules), see http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/rules/Rules.pdf.

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Undoubtedly the most important change to the Tax Court Rules is Rule 26, which was derived from Interim Rule 22A (issued in December 2005 as part of a Tax Court pilot program). This rule allows taxpayers and practitioners to file court documents (submit, sign and verify) through electronic means. It parallels Rule 5(d)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure...

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One other significant change in the Rules is the allowance of credit card payments to the Court. In the past, payment was allowed only by check, money order or other draft payable to the U.S. Tax Court...

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The Tax Court divided its explanations of the amendments to its rules into the following numbered categories:

  1. Ownership Disclosure Statements: Under new Tax Court Rule 20, a nongovernmental corporation, a partnership, or a limited liability company must submit with its petition a new “disclosure statement”...
  2. Service of Papers: Service of Papers is now allowed by electronic means, if the receiving party consents in writing. Service is considered complete upon transmission, unless the sending party learns that the document did not reach the person it served...
  3. Limitation on Number of Interrogatories
  4. Depositions for Discovery Purposes: ...Under new Rule 74, “a party may move to take the deposition of another party or the Court in the exercise of its discretion may order the deposition of a party sua sponte.” This method of discovery is considered an “extraordinary” method, and a Court order is required...
  5. Electronically Stored Information: Rule 70... adds a discovery rule for electronically stored information (ESI)... The Court indicates in the rule (as it does in many rules) that it expects the parties to cooperate through informal consultation before utilizing discovery...
  6. Contemporaneous Transmission of Testimony from Different Location: With new paragraph (b) to Rule 143, the Tax Court allows testimony by “contemporaneous transmission from a different location” for “good cause in compelling circumstances”...
  7. Disciplinary Matters: Rule 202... is based on the Model Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement, adopted by the American Bar Association House of Delegates.
  8. Payment of Tax Court Fees and Charges by Credit Card: In addition to the new rules the Court now allows for “eAccess ” of Court files and documents. An eAccess guide for petitioners and practitioners is available on the Tax Court website at: http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/eaccess/eAccess_User_Guide_for_Petitioners_Practitioners.pdf. There is no charge for viewing, saving or printing documents from the eAccess site, but practitioners and petitioners may view each document only three times...

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